Alumna Receives First Place at Virginia Press Association Awards

Katie Watson (‘11) wins prestigious award for work as an investigative reporter

Apr. 11, 2014 By Lauren Frey

Biola University alumna Katie Watson (‘11) won four awards in the 2013 News/Editorial and Advertising Contest for the Virginia Press Association on April 5, 2014. Watson received the Best in Show award and first place in General News Writing for her series of stories on a lack of transparency involved in the Gov. Bob McDonnell scandal.

“I was very floored and honored by that, because it was completely unexpected,” said Watson.

The VPA holds one of the largest news contests in the nation, annually attracting more than 5,000 entries. Watson also won first place in Business and Financial Writing for her story on public tension over state budgets, and second place in Government Writing for an assortment of articles she wrote in 2013.

“It’s a little thing, but it’s nice to be able to feel like the work that I’m doing and putting in every day is making a difference,” she said.

This was the first time Watchdog.org competed in the online journalism division, Watson said, who has been an investigative reporter at Watchdog.org’s Virginia Bureau in Alexandria, Va. since April 2012.

“I love investigative reporting. I love pointing out what’s wrong with the status-quo,” said Watson.

“In college, when everyone was excited to write awesome profile pieces and do a great job with that, I was looking for, ‘Where’s the crime? Where’s the abuse? Where's the fraud? What is the government doing wrong?’”

Watson was editor-in-chief of The Chimes, Biola’s student-run newspaper, in 2010-2011 during her senior year at Biola, helping the paper win the Associated Collegiate Press’ Pacemaker Award for the first time in the newspaper’s history.

"Katie Watson was a go-getter as a student and as an editor with The Chimes," said Dr. Michael Longinow, chair of the department of journalism & integrated media and faculty adviser for The Chimes. "I'm excited about Katie's award, but not surprised. The hard work and alertness she shows to truth-telling was bound to get people's attention. I look for more of these to come for her in months and years ahead."

Working in D.C., Watson still draws from the leadership and journalism experience she gained by working at The Chimes.

“Ultimately, it’s not about politics, it’s about truth,” said Watson.

“Any truthful journalism is bringing honor to God because we’re showing the beauty of the world that He’s created and, therefore, we’re giving just a little glimpse of him. Or if we’re showing what’s wrong with the world, which is kind of what I like to write about, we’re showing how desperate and in need this world is for the Savior.”

To read more on Watson’s awards, visit: http://watchdog.org/137210/watchdog-org-virginia-press-association-contest/.

Written by Lauren Frey, media relations intern. For more information, contact Jenna Bartlo, media relations specialist, at 562.777.4061 or jenna.l.bartlo@biola.edu.

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